Kiera Dye: Midwife Error Causes Brain Damage – Claim against Peterborough & Stamford NHS Foundation Trust

Posted By Moosa Duke - 14th March 2014

Keira DyeKiera Dye was born at the Peterborough Hospital Maternity Unit on 30/05/08.  She was five days overdue and was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.  Her mother had a prolonged period of pushing and it was evident that there was difficulty in progressing with the delivery.

The midwife involved failed to follow hospital procedures and guidelines and failed to call for assistance when Kiera’s mother had been pushing for one hour.  Kiera was born after her mother was left pushing for over two hours.  She suffered from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and sustained neurological damage as a result.  Following her birth, there was a further two and half minute delay before Kiera received appropriate paediatric assistance as the midwife had failed to call for assistance sooner.

Kiera was diagnosed with bilateral cerebral palsy (quadriplegia) with a mixed spastic dystonic tone disorder together with evidence of overall developmental delay and epilepsy.

She was examined by a paediatric neurologist and Kiera’s family were advised that her motor development would improve but would be limited. She had visual problems and significant astigmatism. She had problems feeding and required a naso-gastric tube from birth.  She did not receive any oral nutrition. She had to have a Mic – Key button inserted to enable feeding.

She suffered from seizures and had many seizures a day and at night for which she received medication.

Kiera attended a special needs nursery and required regular input from physiotherapy, occupational therapy and portage help at home. She was unlikely to achieve useful independent mobility. It was expected that she would  be wheelchair dependent and remain wholly dependent in every aspect of daily life.

Kiera’s case, which was supported by expert evidence, was that there were a number of missed opportunities for her earlier delivery as a result of which the care provided to Kiera’s mother fell short of that which would be considered reasonable.

Furthermore, despite problems during delivery, paediatric assistance had not been summoned by the midwife in readiness for the birth.  There was therefore  additional delay while appropriate assistance arrived.

Kiera suffered from a lack of oxygen during delivery and because of the further delay waiting for a paediatrician, this  added to the period of hypoxia, all of which led to Kiera suffering from  brain damage.

The claim was very complex and it took 5 liability experts to advise on whether there was a breach of duty and whether this caused the brain damage.

The experts included a midwife, an obstetrician, a paediatric neurologist, a neuro radiologist and a neonatologist.

The most complex part of this case was establishing the link between the birth and the brain damage.  In order to help make this link Kiera had to have an MRI scan at age 3.

A letter of claim was served and the hospital accepted that there were shortcomings in the care but initially denied that they caused the brain damage.

After further evidence was provided, the Hospital agreed to try and settle the case.   Sadly, within a few weeks of this being done, Kiera, very unexpectedly passed away in the early hours of 5 April 2013.

It was accepted that Kiera’s death was linked to her cerebral palsy and that cerebral palsy was a contributory factor in her death.

After some considerable negotiation, the hospital’s solicitors settled Kiera’s claim for a 6 figure sum.

Once Kiera passed away the claim was limited to the period of her life.  Had she lived, the hospital would have been responsible for, amongst other things, the care and equipment and therapies required throughout her life.

The hospital provided a written apology just a few weeks ago. It stated the following:

‘I am very sorry for our failure to monitor K’s condition adequately during labour…On behalf of the Trust I apologise to you sincerely for this lapse in care.  I can assure you that following our investigation, appropriate action was taken to try to prevent any similar incidents’.

Mehmooda Duke of Moosa – Duke Solicitors in Leicester who represented the family said that

‘this was a tragedy which could have been avoided.  Better training for nurses and midwives in hospital procedures and protocols would help ensure that better care is provided.  Hospital protocols were in place here; they just weren’t followed. This failure had a devastating impact on my client’s life and that of her whole family.’

This case was also reported in the Peterborough Telegraph.